An active family adventure

Wildlife, culture, history and incredibly varied landscapes

We're an active family of four looking to do something different this summer - we don't need high-end hotels and value really memorable experiences very highly ”

David, Zara, Zoe and Mark

What we suggested and why 

We began with a conversation to find out more about exactly what they were looking for. They had done several adventurous family holidays before in Nepal and Tanzania and we discussed what everyone had particularly enjoyed. We recommended Madagascar for families as an off-piste option - travelling in the European summer holidays when it is dry but not too hot.

It was soon apparent that there was a strong inclination to try to get under the skin of the country and see how it works and understand something of the culture and history - as opposed to just looking at wildlife and wilderness areas. Hence we worked on the idea of making a road-trip through the southern highlands, accompanied by a driver and guide, with their own vehicle and an itinerary that allowed for flexibility to stop off at places of interest along the way. The plan was hatched to mix wildlife locations with towns, to visit markets as well as National Parks, to stay in clean, comfortable and characterful but not over the top accommodation - and with plenty of opportunities to get out and walk. 

First stop would be the capital Tana, with a full day to get a feel of the place and see some of the sights - after this it was the start of the journey that would begin with the tropical eastern rainforest and end in the dry south west. Driving through Madagascar is an excellent way to see how different the country is from mainland Africa, or anywhere else - terraced rice paddy fields are everywhere and the distinctive wide horned zebu cattle graze the fields - the architecture is also distinctive with many people living in double-storey mud and thatch houses.

Andisabe is a great place to get a lemur-fix - both day and night walks, and for some really up-close experiences with some rescued individuals on an island sanctuary. We recommended spending three nights in this area before hitting the road again and heading south, stopping off for a night in Antsirabe before heading on to Ranomafana National Park, a real conservation success story.  Ranomafana is a beautiful area of thickly forested rolling hills and a great place to explore on foot. There is a good variety of mammals and birds to see and some first class guiding and the public hot baths are a fun thing to do a fun thing to do after a day on the hills.

The next stop is Isalo and crossing over from the wet east to the bone-dry west is a massive contrast. Along the way are several towns, each with their own speciality - wood, metal and wine - and this is the start of Ring-tailed Lemur country, probably the most watchable lemur of them all. We suggested two nights in Isalo National Park where you can do really good long walks and swim in natural pools, before heading down to the coast and back up to Tana by scheduled flight.

This trip showcases Madagascar's huge variety - wildlife, culture and landscape in a reasonable short amount of time and without having to make any marathon journeys between places and ultimately gives you a feel for the country and how it all fits together. 

The journey

arrive in Tana and spend 2 nights seeing the sights



Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city, is long on charm and offers a relaxed form of chaos reminiscent of other African cities a...

drive down to Andasibe and see lemurs - 3 nights



Just a few hours to the east of Antananrivo,  Andasibe-Mantadia is where the majority of people come to get their lemur fixLemurs...

drive from Andasibe to Ranomafana via Antsirabe



Madagascar's agricultural, industrial, and beer capital - Antsirabe is an almost elegant city with broad boulevards clogged with...

explore Ranomafana NP on foot - 2 nights

Ranomafana National Park


Ranomafana draws visitors from far and wide for its Lemurs and Birds - yet even without the wildlife there is a huge amount of...

drive down to Isalo - walking in Isalo 2 nights

Isalo National Park


More outback than jungle, with deep canyons cut in to sandstone rocks, Isalo offers a huge contrast to the verdant eastern...

drive to Tulear and fly back to Tana



Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city, is long on charm and offers a relaxed form of chaos reminiscent of other African cities a...

We didn't have too many preconceptions but were most probably excited about the prospect of seeing the lemurs - they were great, but what we all fell in love with is the total eccentricity of the place, there really is nowhere else like it. Incredibly kind and welcoming people and we've all come away with a strong impression of what life is like in Madagascar. We felt totally safe throughout, thanks largely to your charming team on the ground.”

David, Zara, Zoe and Mark

Start your journey...

Speak to one of our experts about planning a trip like this for you.

Catherine Ronan
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We tailor-make your trip so it’s unique to you. Here are some examples of one-off adventures we’ve planned before.

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Our team

Our experienced travellers include:

Alex Edwards
Vanessa Janion
Andrea Hulme

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary. All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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